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CF/SD Performance Database Archive - Continued

July 29, 2004: The D100 section of the database is no longer being updated, as we no longer have access to this camera.

Nikon engineers carried over some of the best image playback characteristics from the D1X and D1H when they designed the D100. As a result, it's possible to begin reviewing photos immediately after they're taken, even before all frames have been written to the card. In fact, the efficiency with which photos can be reviewed is almost completely independent of card speed.

But then there's the buffer, or lack thereof. The D100 has the dubious distinction of shooting the fewest RAW format frames in a burst of any digital SLR in this database (a title it shares with several other older Canon and Nikon entry-level models). To return to shooting as soon as possible after the buffer fills, then, look only at the fastest cards.

CompactFlash Write Speed - Nikon D100 (Firmware Version 2.00)

The data in the table below was derived by timing how long it took the Nikon D100 to write out 6 JPEG Fine and 4 uncompressed RAW .NEF photos to the card. Timing commenced when the camera's card status light illuminated, and stopped when the light went out. Each test cycle was performed 3 times (if the card's capacity allowed for that) to ensure accurate results.

Card-to-card speed variation within the same brand and model, photographing scenes of varying detail and at different ISO settings - these and other factors may slightly alter write speed performance. As a result, write speed differences of 5% or less from card to card in the table below should be considered insignificant. If one card's write speed is within 5% of another's, the two cards are likely to offer effectively the same performance in the real world. Similarly, it's unlikely that most photographers would notice a difference between the fastest card and one that was up to 10% slower.

The results are arranged in the table from fastest to slowest (based on JPEG write speed). The top 10% (based on JPEG write speed) are marked in blue.

Brand and Model
(Card Identifier)1
Key Components Source2
Card
Type3
Date Added or Updated
Write Speed -
JPEG Fine4
Write Speed -
RAW NEF4
Lexar 512MB 80X Write Acceleration *second edition*11
Lexar
I
2004/7/29
1.916MB/sec
2.184MB/sec
Lexar 2GB 80X Write Acceleration *second edition*11 Lexar I 2004/7/29 1.908MB/sec 2.160MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 80X Write Acceleration *second edition*11 Lexar I 2004/7/29 1.900MB/sec 2.184MB/sec
Sandisk Extreme 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0310WJA CHINA)
Sandisk I 2004/2/11 1.765MB/sec 1.978MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 80X Write Acceleration *first edition*11
Lexar
I
2004/7/29
1.761MB/sec
2.138MB/sec
Sandisk Extreme 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0307VZ CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/8/28
1.761MB/sec
1.974MB/sec
Sandisk Ultra II 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0308VZ CHINA)
Sandisk I 2004/2/11 1.761MB/sec 1.955MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 40X Write Acceleration
*new and improved*
10
Lexar
I
2004/3/20
1.760MB/sec
2.122MB/sec
Sandisk Ultra II 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0306VZ CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/8/28
1.759MB/sec
1.951MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 40X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/8/28
1.754MB/sec
2.078MB/sec
Sandisk Extreme 2GB Sandisk I 2004/2/11 1.735MB/sec 1.925MB/sec
Sandisk Ultra II 2GB Sandisk I 2004/2/11 1.732MB/sec 1.920MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 32X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2003/4/1
1.717MB/sec
1.985MB/sec
Lexar 512MB 40X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2003/4/1
1.703MB/sec
1.977MB/sec
Lexar 512MB 24X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
1.703MB/sec
1.968MB/sec
Lexar 256MB 24X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
1.693MB/sec
1.941MB/sec
Kingston Elite Pro 512MB
(Edge stamp: 1GC5121MY0-2EA00)
Samsung I 2004/7/29 1.659MB/sec 1.860MB/sec
Sandisk "new" Ultra 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0303TV CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/7/14
1.649MB/sec
1.875MB/sec
Sandisk "new" Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0303TV CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/7/14
1.649MB/sec
1.866MB/sec
Transcend 1GB 45X
(45X on front label)
Transcend
I
2003/8/28
1.641MB/sec
1.855MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 640MB
(Label: CFPRO-640D)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
1.598MB/sec
1.884MB/sec
Microtech (Pexagon) X-treme 1GB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02CA)
Toshiba (SLC)5 I 2004/3/20 1.593MB/sec 1.853MB/sec
Kingston Elite Pro 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02CA)
Toshiba (SLC)5 I 2004/7/29 1.593MB/sec 1.852MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 512MB
(Label: CFPRO-512D)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
1.591MB/sec
1.869MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 320MB
(Label: CFPRO-320C)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
1.574MB/sec
1.858MB/sec
Lexar 2GB 40X Write Acceleration
Lexar
I
2003/7/14
1.568MB/sec
1.898MB/sec
Lexar 4GB 40X Write Acceleration, formatted FAT32 with 32K cluster size9
Lexar
II
2004/3/20
1.563MB/sec
1.857MB/sec
Microtech (Pexagon) X-treme 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MCA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2004/3/20
1.561MB/sec
1.840MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 52X/PRO. 1GB
(Edge stamp: S4N88116)
unknown8 I 2004/3/20 1.538MB/sec 1.803MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 256MB
(Label: CFPRO-256C)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
1.532MB/sec
1.811MB/sec
Lexar 512MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
1.530MB/sec
1.766MB/sec
Lexar 256MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
1.519MB/sec
1.742MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 52X/PRO. 2GB
(Edge stamp: U3F06116)
unknown8
I
2004/3/20
1.515MB/sec
1.808MB/sec
Sandisk "original" Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0211RX CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/2/25
1.453MB/sec
1.667MB/sec
SimpleTech PRO X 1GB
(Internal: STI/FLASH 1T)
SST
II
2003/4/1
1.427MB/sec
1.650MB/sec
Transcend 512MB
(30X label on packaging)
Transcend
I
2003/2/25
1.414MB/sec
1.680MB/sec
SimpleTech PRO X 512MB
(Internal: STI/FLASH 1T)
SST
I
2003/4/1
1.410MB/sec
1.643MB/sec
Pretec 512MB
(Label: P/N: ACH512-P)
undisclosed7
I
2003/2/25
1.408MB/sec
1.556MB/sec
Transcend 256MB
(30X label on packaging)
Transcend
I
2003/2/25
1.405MB/sec
1.669MB/sec
Delkin Devices 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/10/28
1.405MB/sec
1.577MB/sec
Apacer Steno Pro 256MB
(Edge stamp: 83.29040.410 2002401-00006)
SST
I
2002/10/28
1.403MB/sec
1.616MB/sec
Microtech 512MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF512MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/10/28
1.397MB/sec
1.581MB/sec
Core Micro 1GB
(Edge stamp: 72688 KTN3 1GCP 0313 QC:5F)
Transcend
I
2003/7/14
1.396MB/sec
1.871MB/sec
Delkin Devices 256MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF256MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/10/28
1.389MB/sec
1.556MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 512MB
unknown8
I
2002/10/28
1.382MB/sec
1.567MB/sec
SimpleTech 1GB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
II
2002/10/28
1.382MB/sec
1.513MB/sec
SimpleTech 512MB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
I
2002/10/28
1.378MB/sec
1.510MB/sec
Microtech 256MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF256MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/10/28
1.376MB/sec
1.537MB/sec
Lexar 4GB 40X Write Acceleration, formatted FAT32 with 4K cluster size9
Lexar
II
2003/8/28
1.362MB/sec
1.738MB/sec
SimpleTech 256MB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
I
2002/10/28
1.359MB/sec
1.496MB/sec
Transcend 256MB
(25X label on packaging)
Transcend
I
2002/10/28
1.350MB/sec
1.526MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 256MB
unknown8
I
2002/10/28
1.345MB/sec
1.536MB/sec
Lexar 256MB 12X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 37)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
1.317MB/sec
1.512MB/sec
Sandisk "original" Ultra 256MB
(Edge stamp: ARO110MQ USA)
Sandisk
I
2002/10/28
1.291MB/sec
1.545MB/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 1GB
Hitachi
II
2002/10/28
1.264MB/sec
1.585MB/sec
Lexar 256MB 4X
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
1.243MB/sec
1.416MB/sec
Pretec 1GB
(Label: P/N: CFP01G)
Pretec
I
2003/2/25
1.185MB/sec
1.669MB/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 4GB, formatted FAT32 with 32K cluster size9
Hitachi
II
2004/3/20
1.167MB/sec
1.458MB/sec
Lexar 160MB 10X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 35)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
1.121MB/sec
1.233MB/sec
Think Perfect Pix 320MB
(Label: USA DEM LX-FLASH 320MB)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
1.107MB/sec
1.208MB/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 4GB, formatted FAT32 with 4K cluster size9
Hitachi
II
2003/10/30
1.069MB/sec
1.396MB/sec
Viking 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5 I 2004/3/20 01017K/sec 1.261MB/sec
Kingston Memory 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02MA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
0986K/sec
1.230MB/sec
Kingston Memory 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
0943K/sec
1.140MB/sec
Kingston Memory 256MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF256MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
0903K/sec
1.083MB/sec
Sandisk "standard" 512MB
Sandisk
I
2002/10/28
0780K/sec
851K/sec
Sandisk Standard 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0205NK CHINA)
Sandisk I 2004/3/20 0767K/sec 985K/sec
(1) To help determine whether the card you purchase is substantially similar to the one tested, the card's description includes an identifier - series number, internal name or other unique value - where possible and applicable. See How can I be sure the card I buy is the same as the one tested in this report? for information on interpreting the card identifier. With CompactFlash cards from companies that source components from other manufacturers, it's particularly important to compare the identifier noted here with the card you might select.
(2) Many companies sell CompactFlash media; relatively few actually design and manufacture the key internal components, including the controller and flash memory. This column lists the manufacturer of the controller.
(3) Type I CompactFlash cards are 3.3mm in thickness; Type II, 5.0mm.
(4) K/sec = Kilobytes per second (1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes); MB/sec = Megabytes per second (1 megabyte = 1024 kilobytes).
(5) Companies that source CompactFlash cards from Toshiba may opt for either the faster single level cell (SLC) or slower (but less expensive to manufacture) multi level cell (MLC) arhictecture. The Kingston cards tested were MLC; the company does, however, offer SLC-based CompactFlash cards on special order. Kingston's SLC-based cards have "-S" appended to the end of their part number, ie CF/512-S. Not all of Kingston's distributors will have the SLC cards listed among the products they can ship to dealers. For more information, contact Kingston.
(6) Delkin has not revealed the design and manufacturing partner for their Pro line of CompactFlash cards.
(7) Pretec has not disclosed the source of the controller in the Pretec 512MB card tested.
(8) These cards contain controllers from an unknown manufacturer, likely of Taiwanese origin.
(9) This camera's built-in formatter will reformat cards over 2GB as FAT32 with a 4K cluster size, if the formatting is already FAT32 with a 4K cluster size. If the card is already formatted FAT32 with a 32K cluster size, the D100 appears to retain the 32K cluster size when reformatting. A 4K cluster size means less efficient camera-to-card transfers than FAT32 formatting with a 32K cluster size, so we've tested FAT32-formatted cards both ways in this camera. The only way with this camera to format a card FAT32 with a 32K cluster size initially is on the computer: we used the Format function in Disk Management in Windows XP. Note that technical staff at two CF card manufacturers warned that if a camera isn't designed for FAT32 with cluster sizes larger than 4K that compatibility problems could arise (though we experienced none in our testing).
(10) This card, which began to ship in mid-March 2004, contains faster memory than the original 40X card. Lexar has revamped their entire 40X Pro Series lineup, from 256MB to 4GB, with the faster memory, though we've only tested the 1GB model. The packaging for the revamped 40X doesn't indicate that the card inside is different from an original 40X, though the card itself does: if the series number stamped on the card's edge ends in C977, it's a revamped 40X.
(11) Lexar began shipping their 80X line of cards in late June 2004. The card marked *first edition* in the table is a production model representative of the 80X lineup that began shipping in late June 2004. For now, it's safe to assume that any 80X card available at dealers until at least the middle of October 2004 (and perhaps beyond) will be a first edition model. Lexar promises that second edition models will be readily identifiable as such when they hit store shelves, with details on how to distinguish them from first edition cards forthcoming at the time of their release. Note that the first edition/second edition designation is our own, and is not how Lexar plans to distinguish the original and revamped 80X line.
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